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Da Silva Vale, A.; Venturim, B.C.; Da Silva Rocha, A.R.F.; Martin, J.G.P.; Maske, B.L.; Balla, G.; De Dea Lindner, J.; Soccol, C.R.; De Melo Pereira, G.V. Fermented Products. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 07 December 2023).
Da Silva Vale A, Venturim BC, Da Silva Rocha ARF, Martin JGP, Maske BL, Balla G, et al. Fermented Products. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 07, 2023.
Da Silva Vale, Alexander, Bárbara Côgo Venturim, André Ricardo Ferreira Da Silva Rocha, José Guilherme Prado Martin, Bruna Leal Maske, Gabriel Balla, Juliano De Dea Lindner, Carlos Ricardo Soccol, Gilberto Vinícius De Melo Pereira. "Fermented Products" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 07, 2023).
Da Silva Vale, A., Venturim, B.C., Da Silva Rocha, A.R.F., Martin, J.G.P., Maske, B.L., Balla, G., De Dea Lindner, J., Soccol, C.R., & De Melo Pereira, G.V.(2023, June 20). Fermented Products. In Encyclopedia.
Da Silva Vale, Alexander, et al. "Fermented Products." Encyclopedia. Web. 20 June, 2023.
Fermented Products

It is speculated that traditional fermented non-dairy beverages have been produced by humans since around 7000 B.C.. These foods are known to confer several health benefits due to their biological properties that include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, antihypertensive, and antidiabetic effects. These health effects are associated with the presence of viable beneficial microorganisms (probiotics), their metabolites and cellular fragments (postbiotics), and non-digestible fibers (prebiotics). 

: probiotics fermented foods microbiome

1. Chhang and Jau Chhang

Chhang and jau chhang are fermented alcoholic beverages produced by the native peoples inhabiting the Himalayan belt in India [1]. These beverages are described as sweet and smooth and are prepared using a starter culture called “phab” and their respective substrates; rice is used to produce chhang and barley is used for the production of jau chhang. However, other substrates such as grains of wheat and grapes can replace rice and barley, respectively [2][3]. In general, the production of chhang and jau chhang can be divided into four main steps: (i) boiling the grains, (ii) adding the starter culture “phab”, (iii) fermentation, and (iv) extraction and filtration.
Before carrying out the fermentation, it is necessary to prepare the substrate. Initially, the grains and water are transferred to a large container where the cooking takes place using on average a ratio of 2:1 substrate water. This process must be performed on low heat and is finished after the grains absorb most of the water. After cooking, the excess water is removed by spreading the grains on a cloth. This mass is then mixed at regular intervals until it reaches a temperature of 28–32 °C. The starter culture (i.e., phab) is obtained locally in tablet form and must be ground and spread evenly over the cooked grains. After inoculation, this mass is transferred to a cloth bag and placed on a straw mound with a stone on top to keep the high temperature. Usually, this process can take up to two days during the summer but can require up to seven in the winter. To determine the end point of growth of the starter culture, native peoples use a combination of the moisture of the grain and the smell of the fermentation [2][3].
To perform fermentation, the contents of the bag are transferred to a clay jar and capped with a stone wrapped in a clean cloth. These conditions create an environment with low oxygen concentration favoring the growth of microorganisms with fermentative metabolism, mainly LAB and yeast [2]. The work conducted by Thakur. et al. [2] used culture-dependent methods to evaluate microbial growth during the fermentative process of chhang and jau chhang. At the end of the fermentation process, the number of LAB was in the vicinity of 1.7 × 104 CFU/g in chhang and 2.9 × 104 CFU/g in jau chhang, while yeast showed a population of 3.5 × 104 CFU/g for chhang, 1 × 105 CFU/g for jau chhang. In general, fermentation requires around 7–10 days and the completion of this process is determined almost exclusively by an elderly woman through tasting the fermented grains. After completing this stage, the fermented contents are removed from the clay jar and transferred to a cylindrical wooden drum containing a volume of water capable of covering the beans for extraction. This process is carried out for a period between 2 and 5 h, and the longer the extraction time, the higher the alcohol content of the beverage. Then, the liquid fraction is retained from the drum and filtered to obtain chhang. This process can be repeated about four times. The initial filtrates have a higher alcohol content, and based on this characteristic and taste, some mixtures are made between the different filtrates, resulting in a final beverage that contains between 5 and 7% alcohol and a pH between 3.6 and 3.8. Finally, chhang should be consumed soon after preparation and should not be stored [2][3][4][5].

2. Tarubá

Tarubá is a low-alcohol beverage produced from cassava by the Indigenous people of the Sateré-Mawé tribe, on the border of the states of Amazonas and Pará in Brazil. To produce this beverage, the cassava must be washed in running water, peeled, grated, and transferred to a traditional Indigenous instrument called tipiti, which works as a kind of press to separate the liquid fraction from the solid. After this process, a wet flour is obtained that must be sifted and baked for about 30 min, resulting in something similar to a cookie known as beiju. Then, beiju is transferred to a wooden tray and covered with candiúba (Trema micrantha) and/or banana (Musa spp.) leaves moistened with water and left for about 12 days for the fermentative process to occur [6][7]. As this is a process carried out in the presence of oxygen, high ethanol production is not observed, but generally, after 8 days of fermentation, low concentrations (about 0.25 g/kg) of alcohol are detected [8]. Regarding the microbiota involved in this process, Ramos et al. [8] showed that AAB, LAB, and yeast are the predominant microorganisms that have an important role in starch hydrolysis, and no production of organic acids and volatile compounds that impact the sensory profile of the beverage occur. However, a population of 4.6 log CFU/g enterobacteria was identified after 12 days of fermentation, and the authors associated this increase with the environmental and hygienic conditions of the process [8]. Finally, the fermented mass is diluted in water and filtered, obtaining tarubá. This beverage is often consumed as a daily tonic by Indigenous peoples [6][7][8].

3. Chicha

Chinchas are a large group of traditional alcoholic beverages produced by the Indigenous communities inhabiting the Andes and some lowland regions of Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina for over 3000 years [9][10]. This kind of beverage can be produced from various substrates that include corn, rice, cassava, peanuts, and even fruits [9][11]. Traditionally, chicha production begins with the chewing of the substrate by Indigenous women and children resulting in the transfer of amylolytic enzymes for fermentation. The presence of these enzymes along with the microorganisms in the saliva may favor the hydrolysis of the starch into fermentable sugars and thus accelerate the fermentative process [12]. However, other strategies for starch breakdown such as the malting (germination) process of corn kernels or a pre-fermentation step involving heated water can also be used.
For instance, in Ecuador, different types of chichas can be found, such as chicha de jora, chicha de mandioca, and chicha de yamor (also known as seven-grains chicha) [10]. Chicha de jora is produced from yellow corn and is most common in this region. The preparation of this beverage begins with the transfer and incubation of the corn kernels in a container of water for about 13 days. During this period, there is intense metabolic activity within the kernels, and complex carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars. After this process, the beans are dried in the sun to stop the biochemical reactions. The dried grains are then ground into flour that is mixed with water and transferred to a container where spontaneous fermentation occurs for approximately 5 days [9][10][13]. The alcohol content of chicha can vary greatly from 0.8% to 13.2%, but a large part of the beverage types presents values lower than 5.8% [11]. In addition, it is important to note that some herbs and spices can also be added as an alternative to modulating the flavor of the beverage [11].
Regarding the microbial groups involved in this process, several genera of yeasts (e.g., Saccharomyces, Torulaspora, Pichia, Candida, and others) have been reported. However, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been the main species identified by culture-dependent and culture-independent methods [11][12]. Among the prokaryotes, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum (former Lactobacillus plantarum), Leuconostoc, Streptococcus, and Weissella are the main representatives of LAB. Other genera such as Bacillus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Staphylococcus, and Micrococcus have also been reported. Among AAB, only the genus Acetobacter spp. has been found in chicha de jora [12][14][15][16][17].

4. Apple Cider

Apple cider is a fermented beverage consumed almost everywhere in the world. However, there are several types of ciders on the market, as each country has a traditional method of production. For example, British cider is produced from inoculated fermentations with commercial yeasts, resulting in a fast process and a beverage with higher alcohol content. On the other hand, French cider is produced from spontaneous fermentations without modern additives or treatment. Due to this characteristic, French cider tends to have fruity aromas and flavors in addition to the lower alcohol content [18]. In general, the production of this beverage starts with the washing and separation of defective and rotten apples. The remaining fruit is crushed and ground into small pieces producing a pulp. In the French cider preparation process, the pulp is oxidized for up to 5 h and pressed. Fermentation is carried out by indigenous microbiota from the fruits themselves, with the yeast Saccharomyces being commonly reported as the predominant group at the beginning of the fermentation process. However, other genera including Candida, Pichia, Hanseniaspora, and Metschnikowia are also reported [18][19][20]. Among the bacterial community, heterofermentative LAB species such as Secundilactobacillus collinoides (former L. collinoides), S. paracollinoides (former L. paracollinoides), Limosilactobacillus fermentum (former L. fermentum), Lentilactobacillus buchneri (former L. buchneri), Lentilactobacillus (former L. hilgardii), Lentilactobacillus diolivorans (former L. diolivorans), Paucilactobacillus suebicus (former L. suebicus) and, L. plantarum are frequently identified [18]. In general, cider fermentation is carried out with light to moderate agitation, and this process can take from 1 to 3 months. After this period, a clarification step is performed, and this process can be performed by centrifugation, filtration, or sedimentation. Finally, the cider is bottled, and carbonation or yeast can be added to trigger the second fermentation in the bottle itself [18].

5. Water Kefir

Water kefir grains are used in alternative substrates, such as vegetables, fruits, and molasses, to produce functional beverages with distinct sensory characteristics [21][22]. These beverages are described as acidic, refreshing, mild in carbon dioxide, and low in acetic acid and alcohol [23]. Water kefir grains are formed mostly by a matrix of a dextran exopolysaccharide. Associated with this matrix is a complex and high microbial diversity, composed mainly of yeasts (e.g., S. cerevisiae and Dekkera bruxellensis), LAB (e.g., Lacticaseibacillus casei (former L. casei), Lactiplantibacillus pentosus (former L. pentosus), L. plantarum, L. hilgardii) and AAB (e.g., Acetobacter lovaniensis and A. fabarum). However, this microbiota shows large variations between kefir grains grown in different regions, and microbial succession during the fermentative process is still unclear [24]. Currently, beverage production from water kefir fermentation is performed almost exclusively at household levels using the backslopping technique (i.e., kefir grains are recovered from one fermentation and inoculated into a new fermentation), as the grains are delivered from person to person [25]. From an industrial point of view, the kefir fermentation process is difficult, as this process has a low reproducibility rate with many microbial species involved in this fermentation, resulting in an unstable microbiota [25].

6. Kombucha

Kombucha is a traditional beverage produced from the fermentation of green or black tea (Camellia sinensis) that has an acidic and slightly sweet flavor [26]. The tea fermentation process is carried out by a cooperative microbial community of yeasts and bacteria, which are embedded in a cellulose biofilm known as the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts) [27]. In general, the production of this beverage starts with the preparation of tea, and then sugar is added (e.g., mainly sucrose), which serves as the substrate for the SCOBY [27]. The main bacterial species found in kombucha include Gluconacetobacter xylinus (former Acetobacter xylinum) and Gluconacetobacter hansenii (former Acetobacter hansenii). The primary yeast species found are Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Brettanomyces bruxellensis, while the less frequently found LAB consist mainly of the Lactobacillus genus (e.g., Lactobacillus brevis and Lactobacillus plantarum). Other bacterial genera such as Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus and Propionibacterium are also reported [27][28][29]. Regarding the fermentative parameters for kombucha production, the literature shows significant variation. For instance, Watawana et al. [30] suggest that the process be carried out from 3 to 60 days at room temperature, while Jayabalan et al. [31] suggest using temperatures between 20 and 22 °C for 7 to 10 days. However, work conducted Neffe-Skocińska et al. [32] showed that the ideal conditions for kombucha production are 10 days of fermentation at 25 °C. These parameters resulted in a microbiologically stable product, high sensory quality, and increased acid production, including pro-health glucuronic acid. To obtain comprehensive information regarding the microbiological and physicochemical aspects of kombucha, readers are advised to refer to reviews authored by Miranda et al. [26], Coelho et al. [27], Laavanya et al. [33], Mousavi et al. [34], and Kapp et al. [35].


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Subjects: Microbiology
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